The rumblings within DMK that rocked the party after dismissal of M K Alagiri, its South Zone Secretary seems far from over, as the 63-year-old leader continues to pledge to rout it in the April 24 polls.
Alagiri’s voice of dissidence, amidst the full swing electioneering by other political parties in Tamil Nadu, cannot be ignored as the leader addresses supporters in various parts of the state and openly pronounces his anti-DMK stance, much to the chagrin of his father M Karunanidhi.
Alleging that most DMK candidates were choices and loyalists of his younger brother M K Stalin, Alagiri has been exhorting his supporters to ensure that they finish fourth in the polls.
The former Union Minister, who was expelled on March 25, is believed to have intentionally kept away when Karunanidhi was in Madurai for campaigning last weekend and, on multiple instances, has openly called on his supporters to ensure that DMK candidates get the fourth place.
While DMK is getting itself together after its defeat at the hands of AIADMK in 2011 Assembly polls, it can ill afford to have a tone of dissidence from someone who has been the face of the party beyond Madurai in South Tamil Nadu.
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While Alagiri has been alleging that the DMK high command was giving tickets on the basis of money paid, it is believed his act of defiance is mainly a symptom of the ongoing sibling rivalry with younger brother and party treasurer Stalin.
“There are so many party loyalists in the (Tirunelveli) district. This man is unknown among party workers, yet he has been chosen. Only if we defeat him and ensure DMK finishes third in the poll can we prove we are the real party cadres,” Alagiri had said in Tirunelveli on Sunday.
The ‘Anja Nejan’ (Braveheart), as he is known among his supporters, had also said he was confident he would go back to ‘Anna Arivalayam’ (DMK headquarters) after the polls, indicating that the party would realise his importance after its defeat.
While his political stand towards DMK is clear, speculation over his support to other parties, which branched out from his meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, BJP president Rajnath Singh and MDMK leader Vaiko, have not taken shape as the erstwhile DMK strongman in Madurai has not made up his mind on his political future.
Despite not openly announcing his support to other parties, Alagiri’s interviews to the media publicly is sure to haunt the prospects of DMK, if at all, in southern Tamil Nadu.
As Alagiri still remains an influencing factor in the political landscape beyond Madurai into south Tamil Nadu, where local issues dominate over party’s official lines, DMK will have to face not only its political opponents — AIADMK, BJP and Congress alliances, but also the menace of a rebellious Alagiri.